Pope Francis to visit Bangladesh and Myanmar in November

Pope Francis to visit Bangladesh and Myanmar in November

Bangladesh has blocked thousands of civilians from the stateless Muslim minority from entering the country since Friday, when fresh fighting broke out between Myanmar's security forces and Rohingya militants in neighbouring Rakhine state.

Bangladesh, which is already host to more than 400,000 Rohingya who have fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar since the early 1990s, has said it will not accept any more.

"The Bengali extremists' goal to get their own territory will be accomplished if our western defense is penetrated", Than Htut Thein said, using a derogatory word for Rohingya Muslims who are deemed illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in Myanmar. "We want to stay here or else we'll get killed".

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has blasted the Rohingya militant attacks as a bid to undermine efforts to "build peace and harmony in Rakhine state".

Bangladesh's border guards are trying to block the Rohingyas from entering the country and send back those who have made it across the frontier.

But the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he is "is deeply concerned at the reports of civilians being killed during security operations" and has called on Bangladesh to increase its support to the fleeing Rohingya.

This has been clearly evidenced in the systematic and organized destruction of many villages and homes by vigilante groups under the cover of army and police forces, particularly in Quarter No. 5 in Maungdow city.

On Monday, Bangladesh detained and forcibly returned at least 90 Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar.

At the no man's land near Gumdhum, dozens of Rohingya women, most wearing burqa, sat cramped under a few black plastic sheets shielding them from the harsh sun.

Video clips circulating on social media showed that there was widespread burning of buildings and even whole neighborhoods in Maungdaw township in northern Rakhine on Sunday.

"We have found out that those things were used in handmade mines and handmade cartridges when it got to extremists and (were used to) attack our security forces", said Kyaw Swe at a news conference. "I am extremely concerned that the unsupported allegations against global aid organizations place their staff in danger and may make it impossible for them to deliver essential aid". "Any village can be their base camp - any mosque can be their headquarters", he said.

"Please save us", 61-year-old Amir Hossain told Reuters near the Bangladeshi village of Gumdhum.

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